: Rich old Cyrus West's relatives are waiting for him to die so they can inherit. But he stipulates that his will be read 20 years after his death. On the appointed day his expectant heirs arrive at his brooding mansion. The will is read and it turns out that Annabelle West, the only heir who shares his name, inherits, if she is deemed sane. If she isn't, the money and some diamonds go to someone else, whose name is in a sealed envelope. Before he can reveal the identity of Annabelle's successor, Mr. Crosby, the lawyer, disappears. This is the first in a series of mysterious events, some of which point to Annabelle in fact being unstable.
Stars: Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, Forrest Stanley, Tully Marshall, and Gertrude Astor
May 28, 2010
A fun and campy silent film (the version I watched had no musical score) which combines the right amounts of eerie haunted mansion, romance, comedy, horror and mystery. There are some unusual camera directions, the lighting is ominous, there is the ubiquitous hidden library door, the outstretched hand, the bulging eyes of the killer, the ludicrous comb-over of the "doctor," and acting which swivels between melodrama and high drama.
Although many of the conventions in this film are familiar to us in the 21st century, they were breakthrough in this film which sets the style for Universal Pictures. Think of the Abbott & Costello films where the boys meet a monster - they all seem to be based on this movie's format.
A lack of a score and some lag time in the middle of the film are the caveats for me.